How to tell your Girlfriend and friends what Raiding is
As anyone who’s ever played an MMORPG knows, it's hard to explain exactly what you’re doing for those 3-4 hours a day you spend locked on to your screen, headset on your head, smashing those keys and yelling at your screen. Saying the word "raiding" just doesn't suffice. But that’s what we’re here for! To set the record straight. So just pass this article to your special someone, friends, or even your parents, and let us take care of the rest.
Now, this’ll certainly have to be more than just a simple introduction to raiding. You don’t just want to know why your dorky friend/partner/child (let’s just call him Dan from now on, shall we?) spends all that time playing an MMORPG, but you'll also need to know what sets a game like World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls Online, or Guild Wars 2 apart from all other video games.
Teamwork: It's not a sport, but it is an eSport
Something that any first year psychology student will learn is that people function better in a group. But, with the fast-paced world that most of us live in, this basic tribal need can't be achieved in the old-fashioned way. And therein lies the biggest appeal in raiding. You get together in a group, get assigned varying roles and responsibilities, and are expected to perform them well -- or you let the entire team down.
The carrot and the stick: Loot vs. wipes
Now while the inherent point of raiding might lie in social and tribal needs, the carrot and stick formula of punishment and reward is what keeps people going. You get together in a group, do the thing, and when the thing is done (i.e. the 'boss' is dead) you get a shiny new piece of loot, which you can then wear on your in game avatar.
The point of this piece of loot? It makes you stronger, so that you can kill bigger, badder bosses. Those bigger, badder bosses in turn give you better loot, which you then use to kill the biggest baddest boss of the raid.
You might be wondering where the stick lies in this function. Well, the stick is the countless excruciating hours you have to spend 'wiping' -- basically dying as a group -- before you perfect the mechanics that require you to kill the boss.
Competition - Another itch that raids scratch
Now if you're a smart cookie (and let's face it, you're reading this super complex guide, so you must be!) you'll be thinking to yourself "so what happens after you kill the biggest baddest monsters in all of the land?"
Astute deduction skills, dear reader. The answer to that is, of course, competition. As you can see in the image below, there is a whole website dedicated to ranking the top guilds (basically groups of people who raid together on a weekly basis) based on who kills the biggest baddest boss in each raid first. Earning these rankings is competitive on both a global level, as well as a local level, based on the server (or realm) each guild is placed on.
On top of the rankings, guilds sometimes finish content within hours of each other, making the competition for world first very tough.
New content -- the new shot of heroin that 'Dan' needs
To keep raiders coming back for more, especially the greedy and competitve bunch who kill the biggest baddest bosses as soon as nerdly humanly possible, they come up with new 'patches' of content which basically introduce a whole new set of bosses, who drop a whole new set of shiny loot, which you'd need to kill for a whole new set of epeen (ask Dan what that means).
And that is also why our lovely Dan might have to spend a little more time raiding when a new patch comes out, so that he can grow his epeen even further.
On a more serious note, what's the point to all this
Now you might be thinking to yourself, this does seem just like an another game, albeit at a much more complex level. And essentially, you'd be right. But raiding and the systems that surround it are so much more than that.
First and foremost, they give a sense of camaraderie and belonging that some people don't find outside sports and the Armed Forces. Secondly, they teach a whole lot of useful life lessons. I'm not kidding here -- reaction time, strategizing, min/maxing (maximizing performance and minimizing unnecessary hindrances), social skills, teamwork, time management, responsibility, and a whole lot more.
In fact, getting into most of the semi-hardcore guilds requires some form of application process which directly reflects a CV, where a raider needs to cite their previous experience, their intentions, their desires in the games, and often go through a great deal of scrutiny before being accepted. If that isn't a great entry test for the job market, I don't know what is.
Some cautionary tales
Raiding isn't all rainbows and butterflies either though. So if you notice Dan seems to get angrier rather than happier after a raid, he might be experiencing what can only be described as a shitty raidleader. I'll leave the explanation to the video below:
So, now that you realize what exactly it is that motivates Dan to spend all those countless hours in a week glued to his computer screen, maybe you'll stay away just a little bit and not ask him for extra affection during raid hours. In fact, since most guilds have a set time and weekly schedule for raids, you could probably find out when Dan raids, and spend that time doing something fun for yourself...Like, I dunno, playing some video games?
If you liked this little guide do share and like it, and let us know if you have any other reasons for raiding, or funny experiences of telling your friends what raiding is, in the comments section below.